Cerebral Venous Thrombosis at High Altitude: Analysis of 28 Cases

Wahaj Ul Hassan, Maryam J. Syed, Wasim Alamgir, Safia Awan, Simon M. Bell, Arshad Majid, Mohammad Wasay

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: An association between cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) and high altitude has been previously proposed, but limited published data exist to support this association. We investigated 28 cases of CVST occurring at high altitude and sought to describe patient demographics, altitude and acclimatization, hematological laboratory findings, neuroimaging, treatment, and prognosis in these cases. Methods: Twenty-eight cases of symptomatic CVST occurring at high altitude were identified between the months of August 2017 and December 2018, in collaboration with Military Hospital, Rawalpindi and Combined Military Hospital, Skardu (Pakistan). Follow-up visits were performed at 1 and 6 months. Results: Twenty-seven (96%) of the patients were males, and the mean age was 33 years. In total, 32.1% were smokers. The mean NIHSS score on presentation was 5.5. 85.7% of the cases occurred at altitude higher than 8,000 feet. On average 107.8 days were spent at a high altitude prior to CVST. Totally, 71.4% had acclimatized for >2 weeks. The mean hemoglobin (Hb) value was 16.7 g/dL and 50% had d-dimer levels higher than 1,000 ng/mL. On MRI, 25% showed signs of hemorrhage and 14.3% showed infarcts. Treatments provided include low-molecular-weight heparin and Rivaroxaban and were associated with good outcomes. Conclusion: CVST is not uncommon at high altitude (>8,000 feet). It is predominantly a male disease. Most patients have high Hb and high D-dimer levels. The overall outcome was good.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-192
Number of pages9
JournalCerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number3-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis
  • High altitude
  • Hypercoagulability


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